Charlotte Restaurants: Healthy, Casual, Lunch, Juice Bars, Caterer

I haven’t had time to post many new recipes lately, but I am providing more restaurant reviews and ideas around Charlotte!  All opinions are my own, and nothing is sponsored.  Because I record almost everything I eat, including when we go to restaurants, I want to share my eating-out recommendations.  I posted some fancier, foodie options last week.  Today, however, I am switching gears and giving a list of healthy, casual places.  And I am also including a catering company that I have worked with and personally recommend.

best restaurants in Charlotte

Luna’s Living Kitchen.  Todd took me here for my birthday lunch last year.  It is plant-based, organic, local, mostly raw food in a bright and pretty setting.  The atmosphere and food were both great.  I had an almond milk chai latte that was really really tasty.  It has been awhile since eating there, and I’m ready to go back soon!

best restaurants in Charlotte; Luna's Living Kitchen

Juice Bar.  Charlotte has 2 locations, one on Providence and one in Park Rd shopping center.  I have personally only been to the one on Park Rd, but I am sure they are both equally great!  I am a healthy eater, but for some reason I was scared to try fresh green juice.  But now I wish I had tried it sooner!  And I especially wish one of those locations was right down the street from my house!  I have had the Sweet Greens, the Orange You Glad, and the Sniffle Stopper shot – all fantastic. They also offer spring rolls, salads, smoothies, and other snacks.

best green juice in Charlotte

Juice Bar; Orange You Glad

Viva Chicken.  Unfortunately I always forget to snap a picture when we eat Viva Chicken!  We all love this restaurant, which is a huge bonus as a parent.  We typically order the Peruvian rotisserie chicken with sides (their green beans are my favorite) and get plenty of the dipping sauces.  If you only need one reason to try this place, let that reason be the sauces!  We also love the Quinoa Stuffed Avocado.  And most recently we tried their salads.  The Andina Quinoa Salad was amazing.  The Herbal Limeade was another hit – it is fresh and has lime, mint, rosemary, and basil!

Chop’t.  Todd and I ate lunch at Chop’t in New York when we were there a couple of years ago.  One just recently opened very close to our house and we couldn’t wait to go!  On a recent day when we were having a bunch of work done on our house, and Davis was in school, we took a little salad lunch break to get away from the chaos.  We were very impressed by the service and the food.  I love their salad concept – they toss all of the ingredients together, then chop them up as finely as you prefer.  Everything is evenly mixed and you don’t have huge pieces of lettuce hanging from your fork!  Todd tried one of their Hot-Top Salads, the Braised Greek (spicy Greek chicken and quinoa, millet, lentils; served hot over feta, olives, pita chips, kale, spinach, and cabbage). I made my own salad and included kale/leafy greens/cabbage mix, broccoli, tomato, cucumber, dried cranberries, blue cheese, chicken, and some kind of nuts.  So good!  Oh, and don’t forget to check out their creative wallpaper!

best salad place in Charlotte; lunch restaurants in Charlotte; healthy food in Charlotte

Reid’s.  Changing gears a bit and discussing a wonderful catering option in Charlotte!  Reid’s Fine Foods has been around Charlotte for years, but they have expanded their brand.  I have worked with their catering division on two events recently, and I was very pleased both times!  The food, service, and presentation were all wonderful.  I wanted to post it here in case anyone needs a suggestion for an upcoming event, work function, or wedding.  If you’d like my contact person, I will be happy to share!  Here are a couple of the photos of food they did for the recent CURATEclt gathering.

Reid's Fine Foods Catering, Charlotte NC; catering companies in Charlotte, NC

Reid's Fine Foods Catering in Charlotte, NCReid's Fine Foods Catering in Charlotte, NC

Friday Favorites

Working for the weekend – and it’s finally here!  Todd has been traveling the entire week, and we have missed him like crazy.

Today I am linking up with April, Natasha, and Christina; Karli; Erika, Narci, and Andrea for Five on Friday, Oh Hey Friday!, and Friday Favorites.  I am also linking up with the group from High Five for Friday, Bright on a Budget!

ONE: Peonies! Always a favorite.  My sweet husband gave me a beautiful bouquet including some for Mother’s Day, my mother-in-law brought me a mason jar of them from her yard (they smell amazing!) and my mom’s gift to me for Mother’s Day is to help me plant a peony garden in my yard!  Good things.  And I feel so loved by those 3 people.

peonies flowers from the garden

The now-everywhere OPI polish on my nails (loveitsomuch!)

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TWO: Sneak peek for next week!  I am working on a collaboration with Pink Blush Maternity, with a giveaway…coming soon!!  If you are expecting, stay tuned for that, plus 3 other looks and outfit ideas.  Photo credit goes to Andi Perullo.

headshot in Pink Blush Maternity

THREE: Roasted Carrot Hummus.  If you are eating paleo or Whole 30, or avoiding legumes in general, I want to share this wonderful diet-friendly hummus with you!  It is made with a base of roasted carrots and roasted cauliflower, rather than chickpeas.  I added extra lemon juice, a little extra cauliflower, and some extra of the seasonings. The 3 of us really enjoyed this, and it was a great way to add more vegetable servings to Davis’ meals. We served ours with paleo BLT wraps and veggies.

paleo hummus recipeCarrot hummus recipe; paleo hummus recipe

FOUR: Some outfit details.  This light wash chambray shirt dress from Old Navy is a current favorite.  And on sale!  I wore it on Mother’s Day and I’m wearing it again today. I bought a size up to fit my bump, but it would be super cute in your normal size if you’re able to wear regular clothes.  The t-shirt in the casual outfit below is from Asos, and it is maternity.  I wore it two full days in a row this week!  I am also loving this nail polish on my toes (a really pretty dark green), and this watch from my boys for Mother’s Day!

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maternity t-shirt from asos

simple details

This watch has rose gold, which makes it so pretty and feminine.  And the bracelet from Etsy is one I’ve had since the month my son was born.  I wear it daily. It says DAVIS with his birthday.   I hope to add another when baby #2 comes!

FIVE: If you missed it earlier this week, I posted a Charlotte Restaurant Review.  The list includes some awesome restaurants in and around our city that are perfect for date nights and foodies! I will have another post with some more casual spots next week.

best restaurants in Charlotte

Five on Friday linkup graphich54f2_zpsc7e1f4e7Friday Favorites graphic

 

 

 

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Charlotte Restaurant Review: For Foodies and Date Nights

best restaurants in Charlotte

Food, recipes, ideas of what to cook, what to eat, etc etc takes up a large majority of my brain space…possibly too much!  Thankfully, my husband and family love food as well, and trying new places to eat is something we all enjoy.  Todd and I try to go on date nights once a month, and we like to branch out and visit new-to-us restaurants.

I tend to post sporadically on here or on instagram if we try a different restaurant in Charlotte.  But I wanted to put together a more cohesive post…that will hopefully turn into a type of series.  Here are some of the restaurants we have enjoyed in the last 6 or so months.  This post is more focused on the nicer restaurants.  These spots are perfect for date nights, foodies, and those looking for a focus on atmosphere.  In the future I will write about more casual places, great lunch spots, juice bars, caterers, etc!  I have drafts planned for the next couple of weeks.  I wanted to break it up because this post is already too long.

This is not sponsored!  These are my personal and honest opinions. And please excuse some of the poor picture quality.  Most of these photos were taken in dark lighting. 

If you’re visiting our city, or you live here and are looking for some restaurant recommendations, check out this list!  I hope this is helpful!

Rooster’s.  We ate here for the first time with my cousin and her husband for her 30th.  The food is elevated comfort food, and we really enjoyed it!  It is heavier than the food I typically eat, but we still had a great time and loved the flavors.  It’s a great location uptown as well.

best restaurants in Charlotte

Fahrenheit.  Todd took me to dinner here for our 9th anniversary.  The food was delicious, and the views are fantastic!  We went back for drinks before eating at Rooster’s for Sarah‘s birthday.  It is a perfect spot to just have a drink as well.  If you haven’t been, you absolutely should.

best restaurants and bars in Charlotte

Fahrenheit Restaurant in Charlotte

CO.  We tried this recently for a last-minute date night.  We love Asian food, but I was craving something other than sushi.  This hit the spot and I’m dying to go back! CO is not really fancy, but I included it in this list, because of the atmosphere, and the food is a little more adventurous. Bonus – they have an entirely separate gluten free menu!  That is difficult to find, especially in Asian restaurants.  The food is Vietnamese, it is fresh, and the atmosphere and decor are excellent.  I had the Shrimp Spring Rolls and Beef Pho.  Todd had Pork Belly Steamed Buns and a Ramen Bowl.

best Vietnamese restaurant in Charlotte; pho restaurant in Charlotte

CO Charlotte Noodles and Sushi

CO Charlotte noodles and Sushi restaurant

OGGI.  My family went here for Mother’s Day lunch.  It was mine and Todd’s first time, but we had a wonderful experience.  The service was the best we’ve had in a restaurant in a while. I basically never eat pasta (gluten free), but I ordered one of their specials of the day.  It was pasta with a red fra diavolo clam sauce, calamari, shrimp, mussels, and clams. I enjoyed it!  The rest of the pasta is homemade, and everyone at the table seemed to enjoy each dish!  Todd had the lasagna, which is their second best seller.  My brother had crab ravioli, which is their top seller.

nice Italian restaurant in Charlotte; OGGI

lasagna from nice Italian restaurant in Charlotte, OGGI

Kid Cashew.  This place isn’t fancy, but it is foodie friendly.  My mom and I ate here for lunch recently, and we had a great experience!  It is located right in Dilworth, and has a really cool look.  If it had been a little warmer, we would have eaten outside on the patio.  The food is elevated, but homey and Southern, and delicious.  We shared the pork shoulder with a cilantro yogurt dipping sauce; their white beans braised with grape tomatoes; their beet salad; and their roasted brussels sprouts.  We did not order drinks, but we’ll have to go back after October, because I have heard great things about their fresh cocktails.

list of best restaurants in Charlotte; Kid Cashew for lunch

Kindred.  This place has become so famous, and I believe it deserves the fame.  Todd and I ate here on a date night in February, and we had a wonderful time.  The interior of the restaurant is beautiful and the look of the bar is so cool (I’m sure you’ve seen plenty of pictures on instagram!).  The vibe is not stuffy or snooty at all, even though the food and flavors are incredibly well thought-out.  Our servers were very kind, and they happily worked with my gluten intolerance.  We ate every crumb on our plates, and I would love to go back there soon!  Worth the drive to Davidson for sure.

best restaurants in Charlotte

beef tartare and bartender's selection cocktail; best restaurants in Charlotte

best restaurants in Charlotte

Heirloom.  This is another restaurant that is a bit of a drive.  But worth it!  We experienced impeccable service and delicious food!  We ate here (unknowingly) during Restaurant Week, so we ate off the the prix fixe menu.  But they also sent out an additional course of charcuterie that was fantastic!  Everything – at least 95% – of the restaurant, not just the food, is sourced locally.  Salt from the Outer Banks, etc.  The passion for local ingredients is admirable and easily noticed when dining at Heirloom.

best restaurants in Charlotte

best restaurants in Charlotte

best restaurants in Charlotte

best restaurants in Charlotte

…And now I’m starving. ;) 

 

Some others we’ve tried and enjoyed: 5 Church, The Summit Room, Good Food on Montford…We haven’t been to those places in the last 6 months, so I didn’t include them.  But if we go again, I will try to take pictures and write a mini review! 

Charlotte offers a plethora of culinary adventures!  I love living in a city with such a variety of restaurants, and I am excited to try some others soon!

 

 

Friday Favorites

Another weekend is here, praise the Lord!
I’m happy to be linking up with April, Natasha, and Christina; Karli; Erika, Narci, and Andrea for Five on Friday, Oh Hey Friday!, and Friday Favorites.

ONE: Starting this list off with some pretty dresses from Asos that are making me want spring and summer to get here even faster!

white crochet dress for spring and summer

Fashion Union Smock Dress with Lace Inserts

pom pom cover up

Pom Pom Beach Back Dress, also comes in black, + another cute pom pom back cover-up

Spring dress for wedding guest

Floral Embellished Maxi Dress (Perfect if you will be attending a wedding OR gorgeous for a family/couples photoshoot!)

black off the shoulder ruffle dress

Off the Shoulder Ruffle Dress

striped shift dress

Gemi Dress in Striped Pattern

TWO: Sarah, with Jessica‘s help, started a women’s/moms’ group recently, and I am really enjoying it!  Getting to know some new people, and share mom stories, prayer requests, struggles, and joys, is life-giving.  Jessica suggested that we start by reading Jen Hatmaker’s book For the Love.  I am halfway through and I LOVE it.  I would highly recommend this book!  It is a great mix of light-hearted and hilarious, along with encouragement and practical Jesus-loving, child-rearing advice.

For the Love by Jen Hatmaker

THREE: If you’re looking for some food inspiration, you should check out Charlotte Food Bloggers!  I am excited to be a new member of this group!  You can peruse the member directory for a list of local bloggers.

Charlotte Food Bloggers group

FOUR: Do you like Reese’s peanut butter cups?!  If you do, but you’d like a healthier alternative, I have another recipe this week that you definitely need to try!  I wish I could take credit for this one, but this is from oh she glows.  I made her Raw Almond Butter Cups, and they are seriously good.  I made them mini, and I used raw cacao powder instead of basic cocoa powder.  My little “assistant” couldn’t wait to get those cute hands on one…then he immediately asked for another. :)  (It’s best to keep them in the freezer – which is why they look a little frosted).

Raw Almond Butter Cocoa Cups

FIVE: So, mine and Todd’s Valentine’s plans fell through last weekend. Davis was sick for 5 days. :( But we are able to go on a date tonight!  And we are finally trying Kindred!   I can’t wait!  I’m sure I will post food pics on instagram

Have a wonderful weekend!  Thank you for stopping by!

THE GOOD LIFE BLOG

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Friday Favorites

I am back for the link-ups this week!  I missed it last week, unfortunately, so I’m going to cram a lot into this post.

Hopefully you all have some nice Valentine’s Day plans this weekend.  My husband was extra sweet this year and planned a quick getaway to where we met and fell in love: Chapel Hill!  He got us tickets to a basketball game, and we are also meeting up with some friends from college. We have plans to walk around campus, because it is gorgeous and holds so many memories for us, so we’re just going to do our best not to freeze our tails off. ;)

I’m happy to be linking up with April, Natasha, and Christina; Karli; Erika, Narci, and Andrea for Five on Friday, Oh Hey Friday!, and Friday Favorites.

ONE: I found some healthier ideas for a Valentine’s breakfast with your family!  With sickness going around, the extra sugar from typical holiday treats is certainly not needed. Lower-sugar, heart-themed it is!

healthy Valentine's idea for kids

Heart Fruit Kabobs with Yogurt “Dip” from parents.com

healthy valentines food for kids

Heart-Shaped Potatoes, perfect for hash browns/breakfast potatoes! Or you could roast them!  From fraichenutrition

Love Toast; egg in a hole with a heart

Love Toast, egg-in-a-hole, heart-shaped. From Country Living

TWO: I found some pretty flowers at Trader Joe’s the other day, and I am hoping I can keep them alive!  I had to google how to care for them, because, you know, black thumb!  They’re called cyclamen, and came in small pots.  I bought 2 for $7!

Speaking of Trader Joe’s, did you all see my “What I Buy from Trader Joe’s” post?  I need to add to it, because I keep thinking of items I love!  And I received some awesome comments with suggestions of what else to try!

indoor flowers in a blue and white pot

THREE: I tried Juice Bar (the one on Park Rd) for the first time this week.  I met with a new friend, and she introduced me to all of the goodness that they offer!  We both had a slight cold, so we started with the Sniffle Stopper shot (lemon, ginger, cayenne, etc), then I tried a sample of Sweet Greens, Orange You Glad, and We Got the Beet.  They were all surprisingly delicious.  I chose Orange You Glad, and I will absolutely go back for more of everything!  I was certainly impressed.

Juice Bar; Orange You Glad

FOUR: I posted on instagram 2 whole weeks ago (see? catching up!) that I attended a culinary competition.  It was for students at Johnson & Wales University, and was sponsored by S&D Coffee and Tea.  They hold a 3-part competition for culinary students, and the winner receives a very significant monetary prize!  The judges, and mentors for the students, are prominent local chefs!  I sat at a table with some wonderful Charlotte food bloggers and writers, and we had a great time getting to know one another and tasting 2o different dishes!  The company and the food were both lovely.  The finale is in March, and I am looking forward to see which dish will win!  Here are some highlights:

food competition; S&D Coffee and Tea; Johnson and Wales University

(the food pictures are all iPhone shots; the bottom picture is from the S&D Coffee and Tea Facebook page)

FIVE: And a little home inspiration for this freezing cold Friday…pretty things always help lift our moods, correct?!  Todd and I have dreams of tweaking our kitchen a bit, including adding a backsplash.  Our house has a rustic feel, and I think a washed brick backsplash could be a perfect addition!

white-washed brick backsplash

homebunch.com

light brick backsplash in kitchen

source

Cheers to the weekend, and lots of extra love, everyone!  Happy Valentine’s Day!

THE GOOD LIFE BLOG

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Super Bowl Ready!

To all of you who read my blog who are not football fans, or not from the Carolinas, I apologize!  I cannot get over the excitement that our Panthers are in the Super Bowl!  Lately, my blog is evidence of that!

We have had so much love for our Panthers t-shirts, and we truly appreciate it!  The Honor Roll Designs team spent much of the weekend packing and shipping.  One of our younger team members was pumped as well!

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Davis’ school has Panthers spirit days this week, which is awesome.  I am excited for him to experience team spirit and pride in our city at a young age!

Keep Pounding! Go Panthers!

As we all know, besides the game, the FOOD for the Super Bowl is of utmost importance!  I am making food for a few different events this weekend, including our own Super Bowl watching plans.  I’ve been putting together menus, and searching Pinterest and blogs for recipe inspiration.

I am planning to make:

  • Chocolate Cupcakes with Salted Caramel Buttercream and Salted Caramel Drizzle
  • “Funfetti” Cupcakes (my version)
  • Braised Short Rib Sliders with Pimento Cheese & Apple Cabbage Slaw
  • Wedge Salad Skewers/Chopped Wedge Salad
  • Taco Cups with BBQ Chicken, Monterey Jack Cheese, Avocado Crema, Cilantro (inspired by these BBQ Chicken Tacos; I’m going to serve them in Tostitos scoop chips)
  • Shrimp Cocktail
  • Black-Beery Whiskey Smash 

FYI, The Super Bowl is one of the days of the year that I don’t worry as much about clean eating.  It is one of my husband’s top 3 “holidays,” so we splurge some.  

Here is a list of some other appetizer ideas for your party! (Some of these are my recipes, but they are mostly from other talented bloggers and cooks!)

And from a food blogging/cookbook auther/creative food genius, How Sweet Eats, here is a list of 200 recipes for football watching!

 

Go Panthers…Keep Pounding!!!

GO PANTHERS! + Birthday Celebration + Snow Days

 

Snow days, NFL success, and a birthday celebration…this is a look at our January (with far too many pictures)!

THE CAROLINA PANTHERS ARE GOING TO SUPER BOWL 50!!!!!! We are pumped!!  Here are some pictures from the last 2 Sundays, cheering on our underdog team! IMG_4976IMG_4969

Carolina Panthers

We have a new Carolina Panthers t-shirt design in the etsy shop!  It features a few of the stars of the team.  Panthers gear is sold out almost everywhere, but we should have these shirts ready to ship soon!

Super Bowl 50 shirt; Carolina Panthers players t-shirt; Panthers shirt

Winter weather hit Charlotte last week, so we had a few snow days at home.  If I had my wish, it would be 75-85 degrees year round. But, being stuck at home and having quality time with my boys and snowy adventures was pretty great.

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We also celebrated my mom’s birthday two weekends ago!  We had a small family birthday party at our house.  For dinner, my brother and I made roasted salmon with a white wine-lemon sauce; risotto; mushrooms with thyme and garlic; roasted grape tomatoes; caesar salad; chocolate-coconut-pecan cupcakes with salted caramel buttercream; and champagne of course!

gluten free chocolate cupcakes with salted caramel buttercream and coconut and pecansIMG_4942IMG_4948

roasted salmon; mushrooms; risotto; caesar salad